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Start Up Loan. Borrow up to £25k.

How much can I borrow?

Start or grow your own business with a government-backed Start Up Loan delivered by BEF. Borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed rate of 6% per annum. Repay over 1 to 5 years with no penalty for early repayment.

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Government-backed personal loans for businesses use. Borrow up to £25,000.

Do you need funding to start or grow a business?

We are here to help you access government-backed Start Up Loans.

Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) are a business support partner for the Start Up Loans scheme. We deliver Start Up Loans and support to business founders across Yorkshire, The Humber, and the North East.*

In the last 11 years, we've helped founders from all backgrounds; young and old, women and men, white British and ethnic minorities create 2,170 new UK businesses. Currently, 41% of our Start Up Loans support women-led businesses while 21% of our Start Up Loans support businesses led by ethnic minority founders.

While most of these businesses are based in Yorkshire, The Humber, and the North East, many have been based outside the region so whatever your background, business idea, or location, we are ready to support your Start Up Loan application.

*Please note, the scheme has additional support partners across the UK.

What's a Start Up Loan?

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. Founders who are starting a new business or have been trading for less than 36 months can apply:

  • Borrow up to £25,000 (BEF average loan size = £11,000)
  • Fixed interest rate of 6% per annum (per year)
  • Repay the loan over a term of 1–5 years
  • No fees for arranging the loan or paying it back early
  • 12 months of free post-loan mentoring
  • Up to 4 partners can apply per business (maximum of £100,000)
  • A credit check will be completed

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

Please note:

  • Start Up Loans are only available to UK residents and your business must be registered in the UK
  • Individuals can receive one loan per business
  • This is a personal loan and you remain responsible for repayment at all times
  • Defaulting on the loan may affect your credit rating and prevent you from obtaining credit in future
  • BEF is not the lender of funds. BEF acts as a Credit Broker for the purposes of this loan application and we receive a fee of £600 or £575.00 for every successful first loan application drawn down and the same fee again for any subsequent lending

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn't here, please get in touch via our contact page.

What is a Start Up Loan?

Start Up Loans are personal loans that are used to start a new business or grow an existing business that has been trading for less than 36 months. Your loan can be spent on a wide range of things related to your business, like equipment and stock, a premises, marketing and promotional expenses to name just a few.

Start or grow your own business today.

  • Most business types are eligible to be funded with a Start Up Loan.
  • Founders who are starting a new business or have been trading for less than 36 months can apply.
  • Up to 4 co-founders can apply per business.
  • Borrow up to £25,000 per co-founder (average loan size = £11,000).
  • 12 months of free post-loan mentoring.
  • No arrangement or early repayment fees.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

What can the loan be used for?

Government-backed Start Up Loans can be used to start a new business or grow an existing business that has been trading for less than 36 months.

Start Up Loans are designed to finance the initial costs of starting and developing a business. Typically, we deliver Start Up Loans to support initial costs, purchase of equipment and/or stock, premises, staff, and marketing.

Start Up Loans cannot be used to fund:

  • Debt repayment
  • Training, qualifications or education programmes
  • Investment opportunities that do not form part of an on-going sustainable business

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

What businesses can apply for a Start Up Loan?

Most business types are eligible to be funded with a Start Up Loan, however we are not able to support the following business types:

  • Weapons
  • Chemical manufacture
  • Pornography
  • Drugs
  • Illegal activities
  • Banking, money transfer service, and other FCA regulated activities
  • Private investigators that do not hold the appropriate licence
  • Gambling and betting activities
  • Property investment
  • Agents for third parties, where a third party earns the majority of the revenue or you would only be earning a commission (not to be confused with franchise businesses which are eligible to apply)
  • Charities (Community Interest Companies / Not for Profit and Social Enterprises with a sole community focus can be considered on a case by case basis)

Am I eligible for a Start Up Loan?

To be eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan, you must fit the following criteria:

  • You’re 18 years of age or older
  • You’re a current UK resident
  • You’re starting a new business or have been trading for up to 36 months
  • You’re unable to secure finance from other sources (self-declaration is ok)
  • Your business is based in the UK
  • You have the right to work in the UK
  • Your business type and loan purpose is eligible under terms of the scheme
  • You pass the Start Up Loan Company credit checks and you can afford to repay the loan

If you meet all the requirements above then apply for a Start Up Loan now.

If you cannot fulfil all the requirements above, you may be able to raise necessary the finance you need with a business loan.

What documents are required for a Start Up Loan?

You will be asked to submit a business plan, cashflow forecast and personal survival guide to support your Start Up Loan application.

We have a ready made Excel template that you can download and use.

I started my business with a partner, can they apply for a Start Up Loan?

Yes, they can, subject to them not having received a Start Up Loan for a different business.

Up to four business partners can individually apply for a Start Up Loan of up to £25,000. Each partner’s application will be assessed separately, and if successful, each individual will be personally liable for their loan.

You must have a shareholding and a controlling interest in the business. Where there are multiple business partners a 50% share must be held by the applicant/applicants applying.

Please note, we can only lend a maximum of £100,000 to any one business.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

Can I buy a franchise with a Start Up Loan?

Yes, you use a Start Up Loan to purchase a franchise. This is subject to fitting the following criteria:

  • You’re 18 years of age or older
  • You’re a current UK resident
  • You’re starting a new business or have been trading for up to 36 months
  • You’re unable to secure finance from other sources (self-declaration is ok)
  • Your business is based in the UK
  • You have the right to work in the UK
  • Your business type and loan purpose is eligible under terms of the scheme
  • You pass the Start Up Loan Company credit checks and you can afford to repay the loan

If you meet all the requirements above then apply for a Start Up Loan now.

If you cannot fulfil all the requirements above, you may be able to raise necessary the finance you need with a business loan.

Can use a Start Up Loan to buy an existing business?

Yes, you use a Start Up Loan to purchase an existing business. This is subject to fitting the following criteria:

  • You’re 18 years of age or older
  • You’re a current UK resident
  • You’re starting a new business or have been trading for up to 36 months
  • You’re unable to secure finance from other sources (self-declaration is ok)
  • Your business is based in the UK
  • You have the right to work in the UK
  • Your business type and loan purpose is eligible under terms of the scheme
  • You pass the Start Up Loan Company credit checks and you can afford to repay the loan

If you meet all the requirements above then apply for a Start Up Loan now.

If you cannot fulfil all the requirements above, you may be able to raise necessary the finance you need with a business loan.

How do I apply for a Start Up Loan?

To apply for a Start Up Loan from BEF, simply complete our online application form.

You will be required to provide key business information with your Start Up Loan application. This includes a business plan, cash flow forecast and personal survival budget.

A template is available for you to download. This will help you organise your business idea, develop your plans and figure out how to make your start-up work.

You may also wish to download guidance notes to help you.

How long will it take for me to receive a Start Up Loan?

Typically, Start Up Loans take six weeks from start to finish, but times do vary. Once we receive your application, a business advisor will work with you to progress your application. From experience, we find the more proactive you are in working with your business advisor, the sooner your loan will be delivered.

To apply for a Start Up Loan from BEF, simply complete our online application form.

What factors do you consider when you assess applications?

There are three main areas that your Business Adviser will consider when they’re reviewing your Start Up Loan application: your credit worthiness, whether or not you can afford to take on the loan and whether your business is viable.

Credit worthiness: As part of your application, you will be required to have a credit check that reviews your past and current financial behaviour. While a poor credit history will not prevent you from securing a Start Up Loan in all instances, this part of the application process is part of our commitment to responsible lending and helps us ensure our applicants don’t overburden themselves.

Personal affordability: As Start Up Loans are personal loans used for business purposes, you will be liable for repaying your loan even if your business plans change in the future. While Start Up Loans are non-secured (you do not have to put forward any collateral to guarantee the loan) you will need to fully repay the loan and any interest due over the course of your agreed loan term. The Personal Survival Budget that you must submit with your application, which outlines your key sources of personal income and any expenses you incur each month, supports us in making this assessment.

Business viability: A key factor in our lending decision is ensuring that your business is going to generate enough money to help you meet your monthly loan repayments. To help us assess this, you therefore need to demonstrate that there is sufficient demand for your product(s) and/or service(s) and that you will be able to reasonably achieve all of the goals set out in your Business Plan and Cash Flow Forecast.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

Are there any rules around how I spend the money?

Start Up Loans are personal loans that are used to start a new business or grow an existing business that has been trading for less than 36 months. Your loan can be spent on a wide range of things related to your business, like equipment and stock, a premises, marketing and promotional expenses to name just a few. It’s important to note however that you must be able to describe your intentions for your loan within your business plan and cash flow forecast and explain how this will help you start and/or grow your business.

There are a few activities that cannot be funded with a Start Up Loan, including debt repayment, training qualification and education programmes or investment opportunities that do not form part of an on-going sustainable business.

Where can I get funding for a woman-led start-up?

We actively support women-led start up businesses. 41% of our Start Up Loan recipients are women like Nina D who have started thriving businesses thanks to support from BEF.

We welcome the opportunity to help you start or grow your business.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

Where can I get funding for an ethnic minority-led start-up?

We actively support women-led start up businesses. 22% of our Start Up Loan recipients are Black, Asian and other Ethnic-Minority founders who have started thriving businesses thanks to support from BEF.

We welcome the opportunity to help you start or grow your business.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

I'm based in the North East, can I apply for a Start Up Loan from BEF?

Yes, you can!

We are the regional provider of the Government’s Start Up Loan scheme for Yorkshire, The Humber and the North East.

We actively support North East-based start-ups based in the villages, cities and towns across Teesside, Tyneside, and North to the Scottish borders. We welcome the opportunity to support your business.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

I'm based in Humberside, can I apply for a Start Up Loan from BEF?

Yes, you can!

We are the regional provider of the Government’s Start Up Loan scheme for Yorkshire, The Humber and the North East.

We actively support Humber-based start-ups based in the villages, cities and towns across Teesside, Tyneside, and North to the Scottish borders. We welcome the opportunity to support your business.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

I'm based in Yorkshire, can I apply for a Start Up Loan from BEF?

Yes, you can!

We are the regional provider of the Government’s Start Up Loan scheme for Yorkshire, The Humber and the North East.

We actively support Yorkshire-based start-ups based in the villages, cities and towns across North, West, and South Yorkshire. This includes start-ups on the Yorkshire coast. We welcome the opportunity to support your business.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

I'm based outside of Yorkshire, The Humber and the North East, can I apply for a Start Up Loan from BEF?

Yes, you can!

We are the regional provider of the Government’s Start Up Loan scheme for Yorkshire, The Humber and the North East. However, we have and continue to, deliver Start Up Loans to businesses across the UK. We welcome the opportunity to support your business.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

Where can I learn more about running a start-up business?

Start Up Loans has partnered with The Open University to offer a range of free courses ideal for people who are going into business for the first time.

The courses provide rich information covering subjects such as:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Career and Leadership
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Sustainability
  • Project Management

Explore the courses.

Is a Start Up Loan a grant?

No. A grant is a non-repayable fund provided by an individual or an organisation for a particular purpose, whereas a Start Up Loan must be repaid in full over an agreed term of one to five years. Apply for a Start Up Loan now.

If you would like additional support please talk to your local growth hub. New and growing businesses (up to 3 years old) based in the Leeds City Region can access hands on support from our partner, AD:VENTURE.

Can I blend a Start Up Loan with an AD:VENTURE grant?

Yes, you can. AD:VENTURE grants are applicable to businesses in the the Leeds City Region. BEF work closely with AD:VENTURE to deliver the best possible finance and support to businesses in the region.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now.

Legal notice.

The Start Up Loans Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc. It is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, registration number 08117656, registered office at 71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, England, WC2H 9JQ.

British Business Bank plc is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

What is a representative example for loan provided under Start Up Loans Company?

£11,000 loan repayable over 5 years. 60 monthly payments of £212.66. Fixed interest rate of interest 6% per annum. Total amount of credit £11,000.Total interest payable £1,759.60.Total cost of credit £1,759.60. Total amount payable is £12,759.60.

This is an illustrative example for a loan of £11,000. Loans of up to £25,000 are available from the Start Up Loans Company. Rates and terms will vary for other loan products from BEF should you not be eligible for a Start Up Loan. Further information is available on request.

Apply for a Start Up Loan now >

Why choose BEF?

Flexible finance delivered responsibly and fairly

Personal tailored service

Your application will be supported by a dedicated member of our friendly team.

We take a different view

You are recognised as an individual and your business is assessed in the same way.

Decisions made by humans

Our lending decisions are made by humans not algorithms.

Find support to help you through your application here

The application process

Please complete your application on the Start Up Loans website

Following a quick eligibility check, you will be asked to register your personal details, complete a credit check, and submit your business information and supporting documents. Once completed, one of our Investment Managers will review your application.

Need help with your application? Contact our Investment Management team

Apply Now

What our clients say

Our clients tell the story best, see how Start Up Loans helped them.

Chique photography logo

“We were put in touch with Julie from BEF. She was absolutely brilliant and gave us all the help and advice we needed”

“The shop needed a lot of work to complete it so I used my own savings to get it just right. I then used BEF’s funding to help fill it with stock.”

“We'd like to say a huge thank you for all the support we've received from everyone involved in maketing Spark:York happen.”